Lets Talk Mavs #MFFL

Going in to the 2010-11 season we were worried.  Our team was aging.

We had hoped to turn Erick Dampiers non- guaranteed last contract year into a big name Free Agent.  We went after every Sign & Trade you could think of that would have in impact.  Nothing was happening.

Finally I read that trade discussions between Charlotte and I forget who for Tyson Chandler had broken down.  I made the call to the Bobcats in hope of getting Tyson.  Everyone else had pretty much given up on Tyson because of his injury history. Our trainer Casey Smith told me that Ty had a great summer with USA Basketball, our support staff thought he could play out the last year on his contract. So we made the trade.

The thought was that Tyson would back up newly resigned Brendan Haywood. Wood had played well for us the year before. But by the time the regular season opened  our starting lineup would be JKidd, JET, Caron Butler, Dirk and Tyson.

THe talk in Dallas was of total disappointment. We had used our “DUST” chip as some media referred to our ability to trade Damp’s contract on an injury prone player. The summer before we had resigned a 37 year old  Jason Kidd for 3 years.   We were going no where in the minds of some of the pundits.  It was going to be another 50 win season , if our old team could stay healthy and another first round exit for the Mavs.

Maybe it was time to break things up and start again was the talk radio chatter. We were too old and we were wasting the last years of Dirk’s career Fortunately, the season started out great. We were chugging along and winning games, breaking winning streaks of good teams and more.  Then disaster hit. First Dirk goes down. Then in his first game missed, Caron goes down for the season. Then Roddy goes down for the season.  To say we were nervous would be an understatement.

I wish i could share the texts coming from some of our vets who saw the season slipping away.  As one guy said “We are done”

Our response  ? We signed Peja .  Peja hadn’t played much that season and we really didn’t know how much he could play. But we didn’t have a lot of options. We finished out the season with Dirk coming back and a little bit of momentum, but heading into the playoffs, we were dubbed the One and Done Boys in a song by Ben Rogers on local radio , The Ft Worth Star Telegram said “the Mavs don’t have what it takes ” We know how the rest of that season plays out :)

Then came the lock out.  As we had planned  the contracts of some of our older players were ending, as well as Tyson’s expiring contract.  We had some tough decisions to make. Did we keep the team together for another run or go in another direction ?  It wasn’t an easy decision.  Our plan all along had been to have the contracts of our older players expire this year and next.  But winning the championship obviously made us re-think everything.

We debated and discussed it long and hard. The final decision was going to be mine.  I take all the input from everyone involved, players, coaches, donnie , anyone willing to provide me with an informed position.  But this was such a big decision, it was going to have to be mine for better or worse. But this wasn’t an ordinary off season for another reason.  The lockout happened.  There was a chance that we were going to be champs for two summers in a row , if only by default,  because there was a very real risk that the 2012-13 season would not be played.

As one of the owners on the committee negotiating the CBA I honestly felt that there was a 90pct chance  there would not be a season.  Sitting in those meetings it was as if both sides lived in two alternate universes that never intersected.  As it turns out I was wrong.  3am one morning after being told that there was no real chance of a settlement, there was a settlement.  We would soon find out that our 66 game season would start Christmas Day 2011 Not only did we have a 66 game schedule that included such fan favorites as 3 games in 3 nights , but we had a shortened training camp as well.  Whatever routines our players had to get ready for the season were going to be thrown out the window.  Add in that the new CBA that resolved the lockout was far different than our previous CBA and our Mavs staff had quite a bit to think about.

All my thoughts on the new CBA have been well chronicled elsewhere, so i won’t revisit them here.  But what we have not discussed publicly was our concern of bringing back an older team in a shortened season.  We basically saw the 2011-12 season as a throw away no matter who we signed.   With out the time to prepare and get their bodies ready, throwing a team with with an older starting lineup right into the fire was going to be tough. Young guys can walk into an NBA game any day of the year.   Get to your mid 30s, not so much. So to bring the gang back , we would basically be losing a year.  When you look at keeping together an older team and the first year after your championship is a lost year, it’s hard to justify keeping an older team together.  But we were the champs. That meant a lot.

It also meant that if we kept everyone together we would have to make do with our existing roster.  We would have little room to add new players. In particular we would not be in position to add someone who could come in and be a cornerstone for our future.  IMHO we would be stuck with an aging team and not be in a position to make a big impact on our roster.

So we made the decision to stick with the folks we had under contract for the lockout season. We made a trade that we would thought would help, but obviously turned into a disaster.  The good news was that it was a compressed season and we thought it would go by quickly and after the season we would have cap room to go after players we thought would be impact players and also fit our culture.

Culture is very important to the Mavs.  Your best player has to be a fit for what you want the culture of the team to be. He has to be someone who leads by example. Someone who sets the tone in the locker room and on the court.  It isn’t about who talks the most or the loudest. It is about the demeanor and attitude he brings.  It is amazing how when the culture is strong, the chemistry is strong.  When the Mavs have brought in players that didn’t fit or buy in to  our culture it created on the court and off the court problems.  Its possible to handle one guy who may not fit it. It’s going to have a negative impact on your won and loss record if you have more than one.

Our culture is one of the reasons I won’t trade Dirk.

When you turn your team upside down and try to figure out what the culture of the team is, you take the greatest risk a team can take.  Dirk sets the tone for our team.  He works as hard, if not harder than anyone.  He helps our younger players understand what he expects and what they need to do to excel. On the court he is selfless.  He would rather not have to score a point if we would win the game any way.  He would rather pass the ball and let anyone else score than be forced to take the shot. Until its the time of the game where we need a point. Then he is ready to step up as often as we need it. But he knows, that his impact on a game is far more important than any averages or what appears in the box score. That mindset. That selflessness. His work ethic is something I want to be in place long after he has retired.  But to do that we have to transition with him, not in a void.

It is also the reason I believe that you don’t just blow up a team.  Go back the past 10 years and look at all the teams that traded their best player.  There aren’t a lot of quick trips to the finals to point to as examples.

A quick story. The week I bought the Mavs I was asked by Nellie if I wanted to bag the season in order to get the best draft pick that we could. My response was “No. At some point this franchise has to learn how to win and develop a culture of winning.  You don’t create that culture by tanking the season.  I don’t know how many games we can win, but we are going to try to win every one of them.” Thank goodness we didn’t tank the season  It wasn’t a very good draft. And that turn around for the rest of the season helped define who we were and are to this day.

So flash forward to the end of the lock out season. We had hoped that Dwight Howard would be available. But he wasn’t . First he opted in on his contract to the surprise of many. Then,   Dwight  got traded to the Lakers who put together what everyone considered to be a sure lock to do damage in the playoffs.  When there was no Dwight sweepstakes, we really didn’t have any options that we felt were the right fit for us. We had multiple meetings with players. Some public. Some not.   THere was disagreement among our staff about which players would or would not be a fit for the Mavs.  As it turned out, we didn’t make any transitional signings.  We made the decision to sign one year deals , hope we can make them work and hope that we had a team that could compete for the playoffs and be better than we were before.

We actually thought we could pull it off.  Despite having to sign one year deals, we thought that between Dirk and Jkidd we could surround them with younger talent that were on last year or one year deals and get the opportunity to compete in the playoffs.  This would give us the opportunity to evaluate younger players and hopefully have them turn into long term keepers for the Mavs, or we would be back in the free agent market during the summer of 2013 looking for a single big name (that is all we would have cap room for ) or signing players to base the future of our team around, knowing that in the summer of 2014 we would have quite a bit of cap room. More than we had for the summer of 2013.

As it turned out we didn’t have Jkidd , (he changed his mind and went to the Knicks) or for a big chunk of the season a healthy Dirk, and for a stretch no Shawn Marion either.  No reason to re-hash last year. It sucked from every angle and was no fun for anyone.

So we went for a max free agent this summer. We had hoped that Chris Paul may be available  He wasn’t. So Dwight Howard was our first target once again.

Let me address here the inevitable question of Dwight vs Mavs culture.  We saw it as somewhat of a risk, but felt like because Dwight by all appearances and checking we did,  is a good guy and with our support systems we believed we could make it work.  if not, he was obviously a very trade-able asset.  But, as everyone knows, we didn’t sign him. He went to the Rockets.  I do have to say the meeting with Dwight was very interesting. He is a smart guy. Much smarter than people give him credit for. He is also a very, very good listener.  Unlike most people, he spent far more time listening than talking.  And he had the best response to an opening question that I have ever heard from a player, or anyone for that matter.  When we asked him what his goal was, his response was very specific ” I want to be Epic” .  Which was a perfect lead in to the video we created for him

Would i do it the same way again ? In a heartbeat. Why ? Because in the NBA, like in the non-sports business world  you have to take chances in order to be rewarded.  You have to be smart and you have to be more than a little lucky.

You also have to pay attention to what is happening around you.  In the almost 14 years since I bought the Mavs the league has gotten much smarter. There are fewer old school owners and GMs . THere is a much more analytical approach to everything.  10 years ago , or whenever it was that we were trading for Nick Van Exel , Avery Johnson and Raef Lafrentz, every team at least tried to see what kind of team they had and then proceeded to attempt to tank once they realized that it wasn’t going to work. That created unique trade opportunities . Some of which worked for us. Some that didn’t.

In today’s game it appears that the popular path to build a team is to put together a group of young players that you hope will develop to their full potential and potentially lose a lot of games so you have a chance to pick the next Kevin Durant, John Wall or Kyrie Irving or Blake Griffin et al.

Then you have to do it again at least one more season , if not more, because any one of those players is not enough to win a championship. They are all great players now, but it takes time for  them to develop into great players.  THen you have to put the right players around them in order to become a championship contending team. This may be the exact right approach for teams to take to build a championship.  You never know until you know.

What I do know, at least what I think i have learned from my experiences in business is that when there is a rush for everyone to do the same thing, it becomes more difficult to do . Not easier. Harder.  It also means that as other teams follow their lead, it creates opportunities for those who have followed a different path.

I see quite a few teams taking what appears to be the same approach to building a team.  I can understand why they are taking this approach. In the current CBA the value of a player chosen in the draft can be considerable because of the defined contract terms.  And if you put together some great young players, it is very enticing to want to keep those players together for a long period.

But I also know that even if you have the worst record in the NBA, you may not get the top pick and even if you do, there is a material chance you pick the wrong player , or it just happens to be a draft when there are not any IDENTIFIABLE superstar potential players at the top of the draft.

In other words , while it may be popular  i think the quantity of teams taking the same approach makes it more difficult to build a team in this manner.

So lets leave my little draft and team development missive behind and get back to the Mavs.

If we had gotten a single, max out free agent that cost us 19 or 20mm dollars,  we would have had a good team. Possibly a great team if we were able to add the right minimum contract players around our core plus our new max out free agent.  But we probably would not have had a championship contending team.  It would be next year when we had cap room again and we would add what would hopefully be the finishing pieces either through free agency or through trade.

If we didn’t get our max out player, we had planned to accelerate what we would have done next year to this year.  Which we obviously did.

We went out and signed what I think (I know I’m always positive about our players, but this time I’m REALLY POSITIVE :), are a great group of players.  We got players that we think fit our culture. That have a skill set that will allow us to be successful ,  that  complement each other, fit well with Rick’s system  and can be a good team

We also feel like we have some players that will be far better on our team than they were on previous teams.  I like our ability to work with what i call “fallen angels”.  Players who are traded or left unsigned because everyone in the league thinks that they can only be the player they saw in another organization.  We have taken players like Jason Terry, Jerry Stackhouse, Brandon Wright, Tyson Chandler and you can even say Vince Carter among others that were perceived as having this problem or that problem and had them contribute in new ways that were beyond what the “experts” expected.

We pay less attention to what they did in their last system than what we believe they will do in  our system with our group of players.  We are not always successful as last year pointed out, but we have a good track record.

If we stay healthy, I think we can have a good team. How good ? I don’t make predictions.  I do believe that by having a core of players that we can grow and develop with, and cap room in the upcoming season and what we feel is the ability to develop and improve the performance of our players, we are in a good position for this year and for the future.  We have been hurt by not having a core of players in place that free agents see as teammates they want to play with.  THat shouldn’t be the case next year.

In addition,  because of all the financial restrictions that the new CBA puts on teams, I believe more teams are going to be blown up and the new popular approach will be adopted by more teams. Which in turn will make that approach even more difficult to be successful with.  Hopefully this will create opportunities for the Mavs to add new players either via cap room or through trade that get us back in to the Finals and rewards our fans  with another ring.

Let me also add that Im sure Ive missed things, missepelled words and made other mistakes in putting this together.  So feel free to make any comments and I will try to make the proper revisions in response and address some of the things Im sure I missed

and one more thing on  the video, it was not my idea to have my ugly mug in there.  I was vetoed by multiple people who thought it should be in there

Update: It appears that most Mavs fans are aware that the video in the Howard presentation was only 2 minutes of a 3 hour meeting and was supposed to inject some fun and demonstrate some of the marketing support we put behind  our players in arena.   My bad for not anticipating that the mindless  would focus on it as the foundation of our presentation. Anyone who has been to a Mavs home game knows we do  quite a few of these types of videos. 

 I wish I could share the presentation with you, but in this day and age it would be fodder for Headline Porn and not looked at for what it is. It is not worth the hassle.  

149 thoughts on “Lets Talk Mavs #MFFL

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  4. I am forever grateful for all your Mavs history from the beginning until now. It’s just a shame that I am starting to turn on your thoughts, ideas, and formulas for the team. First you said Deron was the target and we didn’t get him and we are “better off” w/out him. Now you do a full court press for D Howard and we are now “better without him”. Such a joke. I will be giving up my season tickets. All the best, but this team is gong nowhere and I feel sorry for Dirk to have to end this way.

    Comment by sportzjunkman (@sportzjunkman) -

  5. Mr. Cuban,

    Thanks for posting a detailed blog about Mavs approach for signing Howard. Here are a few points that I think are worth to have been pitched to Howard (hopefully you did in your pitch already).

    1. Starting when James Harden has become the super star for Howard to consider Houston over Mavs ? James Harden over the couple of years of DIRK ? Harden is the single BIG reason why Thunder does not have a championship ring. If Harden could not do anything (CHOKE) with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, is Harden going to help Howard win a championship ? That championship for Howard with Harden is just a MIRAGE.

    2. Consider the 2012 – 13 season of Mavs and Rockets. Rockets went 45 – 37 and Mavs with a makeshift Roster went 41 – 41. That is a grand total of 4 more wins over Mavs with Dirk missing 37 games and Marion missing 15 games. With Harden and Parsons playing pretty much the whole of the season, Rockets were 8th in the western conference. Why would Howard even consider Rockets ? I don’t see any logical sense in picking Rockets over any of the suitors and Mavs offer the better chance in the Short Run over the next couple of years with DIRK.

    3. This particular point is for Mavs Exec team and GM. Looking at the results from the last 2 years, BIG FISH signed with teams because they see a young and upcoming player locked in for long term. These so called “Super Stars” behaved like “not-super-stars” while signing with new teams. They wanted someone to be there with the team to sign with, rather than the approach of “Let me Sign and others will follow me to sign”. Cant Howard think like a True Super Star ? I am the MAN, I sign with Mavs and many other Stars will follow me to “MY Mavs” team ? He did not. Seeing this as the trend, Mavs Management could have made the signing of Monta Ellis (or) Calderon before negotiating with Howard (Will give you the benefit of doubt over the available cap space). Probably Mavs also could have signed DIRK for an extension with Hometown Discount without hurting the cap space. This way Mavs could have projected the cap space available in 2014 to sign another STAR player with Monta and DIRK on board for long term, Howard could have seen why Mavs are better to sign with for at-least the next FEW years. (Short Summary: BIG FISH will sign only when they see some stars already signed with longer contracts).

    4. Howard has just another 4 to 5 years to win it all. Mavs Pitch could have included DIRK, MONTA/Jose signed long term and 2014 Cap Space Available for signing another star after Howard Signing as the road to the championship over the next couple of years. Rockets have Harden and Parsons and played no better in 2012 than Mavs. Rockets also have Lin and Asik taking 30 Mil away from the cap space and that leaves not much scope for Rockets to improve. Mavs have the upside of re-loading with new Talent to support Howard.

    Course of Action: Mavs need to sign DIRK for a hometown discount and Present a team with signed-in players in 2014 Free Agency.

    Comment by nallagatla -

  6. your new mav looking blog theme made this even a better read

    Comment by under the skies of -

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  15. Forget spending money to improve the Mavs: I can teach Dirk and the other players a bball move that will DEFINITELY help Dallas and change the NBA…in a good way! This is not a scam. I’m very serious and am very confident this will be a “revolutionary” step for Dallas. Eventually, the other teams will catch up and start imitating the Mavs, but at least this move will be called the DALLAS MAVERICKS MOVE.
    Why did I specifically pick MARC CUBAN to share this idea? Because I think you’re an innovative guy that is willing to take chances (like you wrote above). Also, being an Aggie was a contributing factor :-)
    If interested, you have my email address.

    Comment by zfadel2013 -

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  25. #MFFL…. Regardless!… and thanks for the candid explanantion!.. Makes me love the Mavs even that much more!

    Comment by dell b (@mr_dell) -

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  29. Thank you for your transparency.

    Comment by Marcous Luther (@quickml) -

    • That was well put, Marcous Luther. I would add that sometimes the Internet can be a terrible place to communicate in a way that requires an empathetic response, and I credit Mr. Cuban for doing it anyways and doing it in a transparent way.

      Comment by Alessandro Machi -

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  31. Thanks Mark for the great post, Its rare for an owner to be this forthcoming about this stuff and for that I thank you, this is part of what makes the Mavs this great (and thats one of the many reasons that I guy from Argentina like me became a fan, when I could have chosen any other team) lets hope we can get back to contending but in the meantime I appreciate what you have done and continue doing for the success of the team.

    Comment by Nicolas Orcali (@NicoDallas) -

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  33. I sure hope that ReddyisDylan (the troll) becomes shark bait soon enough. Even if his posts are removed from this page, those of us who subscribe to your articles get his spam in our email boxes every time he posts.

    Comment by Alessandro Machi -

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  36. As a MFFL I appreciate the article. So MUCH more interesting and insightful reading the inside scoop and thought process.

    Comment by Karl Meisenbach -

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  40. I agree with the premise that (in general) something gets harder to do the more people that there are doing it, but I don’t think it applies as much to bottoming out, or blowing up your team. The fact is that the draft lottery odds and rookie contract terms are fixed, so by definition they aren’t going to change. That’s why they are so attractive to teams. Yes, maybe if 5 teams are explicitly trying to lose to get the top pick then it will be harder to get the top pick (though how hard is it really to lose…), but that’s an extreme scenario and never really happens, at least to that extent. It actually means there is even less incentive to be in “no man’s land” in the middle of the standings. If more teams are going for the lottery to try and build through rookies, that means there will be more teams that try to bottom out and get stuck with a mediocre record AND only a 7th pick in the draft – it just makes it that much more important to either tank well or be in the playoffs Maybe it leads to better deals on quality players that are being shed by tanking teams, but unless you’re already a playoff contender or already have some top young players on rookie-scale contracts those deals aren’t really going to help you in the long term because you’ll still be too cap constrained to get a star (with the obvious exception of if you are able to get a REALLY good deal on players from a tanking team).

    Comment by Chris Bruce -

  41. Hi Mark,
    Great post, I’ll be brief. You mentioned that you couldn’t justify bringing the whole Championship Team back. But I don’t think anyone reasonably expected the Mavs to do that. We just at the least expected you to resign Tyson, since a great center is one of the rarest commodities in the league. No one would have balked if you had done this but let Caron, JJ, and Peja walk. I don’t know the numbers like you, but why couldn’t you have amnestied Haywood, as you did, and then use that cap space to sign Chandler after the lockout ended? Had you done this and still wanted Dwight, then Chandler could have served as the central trade piece to get Howard prior to the 2011-2012 trade deadline. Keeping a great center, leader and trade piece like Chandler seems the only rational option in this instance.

    Comment by Lone Star Lifesavers (@LSLifesavers) -

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  54. Mark, you’re obviously a smart guy. You want to win, plain and simple, right?

    If that was the case- why would you have yourself included in the video so many times? How can you rationalize that including yourself in a video intended to sign Dwight would increase the likelihood of him signing? Face it, you have taken criticism for always seeming to be the “face” of the Mavs. In the one video that was meant to entice Dwight, why couldn’t you just make it about him to inflate his ego? How did including yourself so many times increase your chances of signing Dwight; increase your chances of WINNING.

    Think Morey or owner Leslie Alexander put their faces on their presentation to Dwight?

    Comment by Raghu Kumar -

  55. MC, i think for next years FA class u should work in conjunction wit Jerry Jones and attempt to lure Lebron here since he’s a die-hard Cowboy fan. As far as the blog 2day, i fully respect ur decision about not re-signing any of the championship team. All these other idiots can disagree all they want but ur the one thats the billionaire, so i think u’ve been makin pretty good business decision so far, so i trust your judgement. So wit that said In Mark i Trust!!!

    Comment by Kris Green (@bossofDALLAS) -

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  58. IT’S OBVIOUS THAT SLOAN SCHOOL OF ANALYTICS DOES NOT CONFUSE YOUR MIND – PAST PERFORMANCES WITH OTHER TEAMS OR FRANCHISES MUST ENTER INTO THE SELECTIVE PROCESS AND WE ALL KNOW THAT GOOD PLAYERS GET STUCK WITH POORLY RUN FRANCHISES –JERRY C. USA WAS AND IS A ‘CULTURE’ ADVOCATE —FOR CULTURE GIVES AN INDENTITY –AS RED AUERBACH DID SO WELL OVER MANY YEARS -?DOES HE FIT IN TO ‘THE CELTIC WAY – ON AND OFF THE COURT -IF IN DOUBT -LEAVE HIM OUT…
    DON CASEY

    Comment by Don Casey -

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  60. Dear Mark,
    I am not a Mavericks fan by any means, being a long time Knicks fan from France. But I wish to thank you for this entertaining blog only you as an NBA owner has the balls to produce. If only our Knicks owner could share half of that.
    Wish you and your team well. You make people wish they’d be in this same business.
    Best, MD

    Comment by Matthieu Drouot -

  61. Pingback: Mark Cuban addresses Mavs’ decisions, tanking, and the state of NBA in blog missive | The Point Forward - SI.com

  62. AJ I respect you as owner, but in my opinion, you are one of team’s problems. Owner isn’t supposed to do things you do. You are not a scout or profesional trainer! But who am i to tell you that. About players. This year you have signed one great player and one who wil f*** with Mavs. That’s Jose and Monta. Remember guy named D.Wagner? Or M.Thornton. Stupid scoring. Championship teams are not built that way. Fire your personal. This team is not built for playoffs. Write DM, when you realize I am right!

    Comment by ivo (@iGreenbergs) -

  63. Pingback: Mark Cuban shares the animated video his Mavericks put together to woo Dwight Howard (Video)

  64. Pingback: Cuban: No regrets for Mavs’ rebuilding plan | HoopsterNation.com

  65. Pingback: Mark Cuban on rationalism, culture, and copycats | Behind Box Scores

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  67. Mark, as an outsider looking in (longtime Celtics fan whose team, as you discussed, is adopting the same strategy as many others) I’m intrigued by the narrative of the 2013-14 Mavs. When everyone is looking one way, often the biggest advantage lies in being unconventional. I applaud that.

    Could we agree that the modern NBA model is not a dual path, but rather one of these three approaches: tank and build through young talent (past: OKC, present: PHI), sign max players and fill out the roster with vet minimums (past: MIA, present: BKN), or amass mid-level players who thrive in their respective roles (past: DET, present: DEN)?

    Aren’t you concerned that this “fallen angels” strategy aligns closest to the last and least successful of the three? Dirk is clearly a larger star than any player from that fateful ’04 Pistons roster, but he’s also aging and has dealt with knee problems recently, a significant red flag for a player at his position. He’s far from being taken behind the barn and shot, but he needs the right players around him.

    Let’s digress into some theory quickly. The core concept of “Fallen Angels” works best with a team that is already a contender. The New England Patriots would be a prime example. Sign a Mark Anderson on a low-risk vs. high-reward contract, get double digit sacks out of him, go to the Superbowl. Then, lose him the following season to a team willing to overpay based on one year of production. See: Mayo, O.J.

    For every Mark Anderson, there’s also a few Chad Ochocinco’s and Albert Haynesworth’s. There’s a reason that these players are available, so often it’s more risk than reward. On an NFL roster, these risks are more manageable. The NBA is a far more precise science.

    Back to the Mavericks! JJ Barea, Delonte West, Yi Jianlian Darren Collison, Ian Mahinmi, DeShawn Stevenson, O.J. Mayo, Anthony Morrow, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Rudy Fernandez, Tyson Chandler, Corey Brewer, and why not… Steve Novak. These are the “Fallen Angels”, under 30, that the franchise has swung-on and either missed or been unable to resign since that 2010 season. I use this age designation because these are theoretical cornerstones that you can develop and retain to continue that winning culture you value highly. None currently play for the Dallas Mavericks.

    Don’t get me wrong. I again applaud your strategy, as winning teams have the unenviable position of drafting toward the end of the first round. I think we could both agree that the Mavs wouldn’t mind having a few drafts to do over. So would most franchises. Not everyone can be R.C. Buford, so you bank on finding treasure from another man’s trash. For that digging, you’ve been rewarded with Brandan Wright and his incredibly cap friendly contract. Is that a success rate you’re comfortable with?

    Because if I put on my Superman cape, I’m not sure I am. Dwight Howard is a smart guy, and you’re a self-proclaimed gambler, Mark. Gamblers are animated and entertaining and jovial. You don’t marry a gambler, though. You hang out with them on a Saturday night. And, unfortunately, you’re a gambler who has spent the past couple years rolling snake eyes since cleaning out the house in 2011.

    Will there always be a Jason Terry or a Jerry Stackhouse or Vince Carter out there? Absolutely. Will these every be the type of players that you can build a franchise around in the long term? Rarely.

    As constructed, you’re simply treading water in the NBA’s No Man’s Land, taking flyers on aging veterans that will keep you relevant but not excellent. Instead of taking chances on guys under 25 that could step up as a new guard, you’ve targeted guys in their early 30’s in a way that reminds me of that championship season. Unfortunately, with Dirk and Shawn at 35 and Vince at 36, the comparisons fall short.

    Turn it around. Improve scouting practices and target younger players that fit your system. Use the draft to do more of your gambling. Develop a culture that promotes franchise loyalty instead of treating “fallen angels” like so many numbers on a roulette wheel. If you feel you truly have a fit that other teams don’t see, find multi-year, team friendly deals to sign free agents to so they don’t simply walk when you’ve established value for them.

    Good luck next season, Mark.

    From Mark: That is why they play the games. I can name more bona fide stars who have moved as free agents or in trades in the last 3 years than you can name bona fide stars that were picked in the draft

    Comment by Jake -

  68. Pingback: NBA free agency rumors roundup: Nikola Pekovic's agent wants more money, Grizzlies eye guards | TNT

  69. WOW I knew that!! I guess I have been paying attention!! In Mark we trust!! You have made tough decisions, your desire to win is obvious! You have always put your money where your mouth is! I am glad we have you as the owner of the Mavs, We will be back!! Thank you Mark, for everythoing, keep up the good work, we will be watching our Mavs as they move forward!!

    Comment by Kirk Schofield -

  70. I have been a Mavericks fan since the team’s inception. I think you have an incredible amount of business acumen and by and large, have made very good decisions for the team.

    That is not to say there haven’t been any bonehead mistakes. Nash and Dampier come to mind. But I wrote extensively about why the championship team should have been allowed to try and repeat. That, in and of itself, was also taking a chance. There are reasons why letting so many key pieces of a champion walk is unprecedented in sports history and much of it, other than loyalty and faith, is found in old adages we often take for granted.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1244473-attention-dallas-mavericks-fans-avoid-cliches-like-the-plague

    Comment by Austin #MFFL (@AustinMFFL) -

  71. Hey Mark, awesome blog post. Coming from Boston, it’s hard to explain how refreshing transparency and rationale are.

    I remember at the time you guys signed Ellis and Calderon I was a little underwhelmed but I have to admit I like your roster. Dalembert’s still a solid vet who’s average/above at center and pairs nicely with Dirk. Shawn and Vince are also at least average, probably more. I had no idea Marion put up 8 boards in 30 m/g last year at age 34. Calderon and Ellington look like nice, legit floor spacers. And Devin should be better if he gets back to attacking the basket. And there’s Monta… he’s definitely your wild card. I guess at the least he’s talented enough to slash and take end of possession shots.

    Comment by Chris Testr (@chris_testrr) -

  72. Thank you for your take on things…. my question is if every team in the league had the same issue of no training camp and a shortend season.. don’t you think you owed it to the fans to give it another go, conventional wisdom says never break up a championship team. Give them a chance to defend thier title. It was obvious that things had changed with Tyson .. he played great and seemed to be over his injuries. You still had Derk and Jason, albeit one yr older. I get what you were thinking but you were WRONG, rather than try and rationalize your decision making process and the results. Why not just admit you were wrong and made bad decisions. No use in trying to justify things. You guessed wrong… it happens… I won’t say it was a EPIC mistake… but its close. You said it was a throw away season in your mind. But when you purchased the team.. you also stated that you didn’t believe in throwing away a season.. somewhat of a contradiction wouldn’t you say? In closing… im a huge Mark Cuban fan… I have much respect for this guy… and I think his knowledge and understanding of the game is far above and beyond most of the owners in the NBA. Let it go Mark, you guessed wrong… focus on 2013-14. Put that great basketball mind to use and show us winning the championship in 2011 was a fluke. I have confidence.. looking forward to future … by the way, Im a Lakers fan..lol But Im also a Mark Cuban fan.

    Comment by theindustryinc -

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  75. You’ve done great things for us as an owner, Mark, but try and remember how good that 2010-2011 Mavs team was. Not just the team that won the title, they were a good enough group that Dirk could carry them to the title. Remember the team when Caron Butler was healthy, that went on a 17-1 run? Remember Chris Paul’s Hornets started the season 8-0, beating the Heat and Spurs? We gave them their first loss. The Spurs had only lost to that Hornets team and were 13-1. We gave them their second loss. Then after we beat the Heat the first time they went on to win 12 in a row. The team that beat them? The Mavericks. We played 4 games in five days, the Pistons and Oklahoma City back to back, a day of rest then the Spurs and Heat back to back. We beat them all, by 4, 8, 9 and 11. The team that won the title was a very good team, but the team that started the season was the best we’ve ever had in Dallas, and that’s the team you had the opportunity to bring back. That’s why we’re bitter that you didn’t. The fact that your free agent quest was such a catastrophic failure in back to back years is bad, but not bringing back the best team in Mavs history for a second go round is the real problem. I hope that we’re able to do something so we don’t waste the remaining years of Dirk’s career walking the fine line between the low lottery and eight seeds, but I’m not optimistic at the moment.
    Still, as always, I’ll hope for the best. Go Mavs.

    Comment by Nick Preece -

  76. I give Cuban credit for this blog – he’s got more backbone in this respect than Lakers owner Jim Buss (RIP Dr Buss). But what both have in common in hubris. It can be used to motivate, but it can also lead to delusion. Ironically both crapped out in the FA sweepstakes this year – and if both teams crap out on Melo and Lebron next year, they will have to do some serious soul searching on their franchise players…

    Comment by Nash Ten -

  77. Pingback: Mark Cuban Releases Mavericks' Pitch Video To Sign Dwight Howard

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  79. Mark
    FYI handwriting analysis is the team-building tool of champions. I am ceo of graphologyconsulting.com
    an international handwriting analysis consultancy.
    Several years ago i received entrepreneur of the year award and in my acceptance speech I related my business success to playing basketball(i am 5’2 and never played as a kid so no memory of flicking wrists)As a woman what i learned was “Play or get off the Court”
    we analyzed The Utah Jazz and I must say after all of the “poo pooing ” was done they happily proceeded to win again. everyone wants more useful information about themselves and what comes out is usually
    “What you see is not always what you get”
    My best wishes to you
    Sheila kurtz cga mga

    Comment by Sheila Kurtz -

  80. Great post! These are all the whys and hows I kept telling people in the forums for months. Keep up the excellent work. Your approach is the reason I am a Mavs fan.

    Comment by pompelmo (@cemnurgun) -

  81. Hi Mark — I think it is this kind of thing that sets you apart as an owner. You make me believe that you care more, and this is probably something you should use to attract players. People want to work for a boss who is passionate, can be found in the trenches and gives their employees the feeling that everybody is in this together.
    If you’re talking about the culture of the Mavericks being so crucial, wouldn’t you want players who respond to that passion and who believe in you to do everything you can to give the team a chance to win and not those who want their ego stroked? I just can’t see Dwight Howard being a good fit.
    That being said, what the hell do I know? I’m just some dude who has never met any of the players currently in the NBA. I do know about people, though.
    That’s why I think you are engaging in something the Germans call “eine Situation schoenreden.” Dirk knows what I’m talking about. I bet it is eating you up inside to know that the road back to a championship is so steep right now. That’s good because it’ll keep you and the entire franchise hungry. However, it’s also ok to have a couple of lean years before the combination of your fierceness as an owner coupled with a lucky break here or there will get the Mavs back to where you and all of the other fans want to see them.
    Maybe it’ll help that you can tell from the responses here that so many of the Mavericks fans believe in you.
    You got this, Mark!
    Good luck.

    P.S.: You’re lucky that the title of “Best Owner in Sports” does not factor in spelling or grammar.

    Comment by Klaus Marre (@KlausMarre) -

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  83. Great honesty and insight from Mark Cuban. I am proud to be a Mavs fan.

    Comment by suemeagain7 -

  84. Great post Mark. I can still see that there is still a lot of fight in you despite the team’s future being so grim and dire at the moment. I certainly understand your abhorrence to tanking and I also respect it; however, at the same time you still do not want a Mavs team just spinning its wheels going nowhere, Sometimes you have to tear things down in order to come back stronger. That’s just my opinion, however.

    It certainly has not been the easiest for you guys on the free agent market losing out on both Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum, but you got two solid gems in Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon. Monta is excellent player that will give that Mavs 20-25ppg easily and certainly will bring the relieve the burden of an aging Dirk Nowitzki. Jose is also by far one of the most underrated point guards in the game and II am glad he will spend the end of his career on a team of players that know what to do and when to do it on the court.

    I can see the Mavs making the playoffs next season, albeit barely, but sooner or later, that team is going to collapse and fall apart–sad to say, but it’s true. Hope all the best for you and your team, but it certainly is not looking good. I invite you to see what else I have to say about the Mavs on my blog, http://slapdoghoops.blogspot.ca. Thank you for your time and all the best to you.

    Comment by Jeffrey Thompson (@slapdoghoops) -

  85. Pingback: Mark Cuban releases recruiting video he created for Dwight Howard [video]

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  89. We trust you all, and I think the model you explained is a great plan. Makes sense to take advantage of the situations of others, as we’ve been great at doing that in the past. And, with Dirk only having 2 to 3 years left, it makes sense. My one complaint is that I would love to see a commitment from Rick to play the younger players a bit more, which would help add bargaining chips or to simply get younger. Which will entice other players to come, or add trade chips that we need to trade for the missing piece(s). Anyway, thanks for everything and Shark Tank is my favorite show.

    Comment by Erick Barnett -

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  92. Forget the implications for basketball for a minute. These insights have tremendous application to the business I’m in … recruiting top talent for high tech companies. It starts with the value system of the organization, selecting people who compliment that system, staying focused on the goal “winning”, taking a chance on a “fallen angel” for the right reasons, and finding value in those already in the organization who reinforce the culture and rewarding them. I’m not a Maverick fan…but I always admire, and try to learn from “organizations with a touch of class”. Thank you so much..PS…this would make a great Harvard Business School case study!!! Don

    Comment by Don Fronzaglia -

  93. Pingback: Mark Cuban writes lengthy blog post explaining Mavericks' decisions - iSports News

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  95. Thanks, Mr. Cuban. I have been a dedicated fan since before you bought the team. If I owned the Mavs I imagine I would do very little differently. It’s plain to see that the Mavs are more than a business for you and as a fan I have to like that. With Calderon feeding Dirk the ball and Ellis keeping the opposing D honest, Dirk is going to have a monster year and the summer of 14 could get interesting. I honestly like all 15 players that will be on the roster. Let’s roll!

    Comment by Henauder Titzhoff -

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  98. Mark, thanks for the write up, Very few owners do what you do in connecting with the fans. I appreciate it and will always be a MFFL. However I see your approach and want to point out asset management. I believe after the championship yr, Tyson was just 28 yrs old, he fit our culture and our system, – 4/5 yr contract, I believe he would have jumped on it. Best center in Mavs history and he was let go. Same thing with J J, I believe those 2 players fit our culture and could have been assets for future trades for a big FA. It has been clear that Big FA do not come to Dallas, unless there is a young superstars or the final piece of the puzzle..but dallas has always had a track record of getting good/great players via trade instead of outright signing. I hope this is the lesson learnt as we move forward. I trust in the you Donnie, and the new GM and coach Carlisle.

    Comment by VDN27 (@xecor27) -

  99. How much revenue is brought in from jersey sales? I don’t know the answer but if its significant is that taken into consideration when making trades

    Comment by Integrity LS (@IntegrityLS) -

  100. If anyone can build a team, rebuild it and rebuild it again & have the best basketball franchise in the NBA, like Mark Cuban has done, the sky is always the limit! We watch lots of games and one of my boys hero’s, who actually got my Josh through some tough times is Dirk. The relationship between Mr. Cuban & Dirk is unmatched in NBA history! Mark’s love of his players, coaches and the game is unparalleled. Best of Luck Mav’s, you guys can go all the way again!

    Comment by Scott Lamberson -

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  104. Mark, I wish other owners were as accessible as you are to the fans. I applaud your openness and willingness to share. People often try to evaluate your decisions as if they are playing NBA 2k14 even though the real world is far more complex because you are dealing with personalities, etc. My guess is Dwight was Houston’s to lose this offseason. They have a younger star who has been healthier that last few seasons and can potentially have cap space in 2015 to add yet another strong player. Dirk is outstanding as we all know but he’s 35 and had problems with injuries the last few years. Frankly, I am not sure I agree with some of your offseason moves this year. I get that if you aren’t going to trade Dirk that you have to give it a go at assembling a casts around him. But committing long term money to Calderon and Ellis seems problematic. Then again if they were the only options left then you have to do right by Dirk. Did you ever consider trading Dirk for his own good and starting over? Are there any conditions (apart from Dirk asking for a trade which he never will) that would need to exist for you to decide trading him is the best thing for him and the Mavs?

    Comment by Doug Bailey -

  105. I know nothing about basketball but what I got from this, correct me if I’m wrong, is if you build a team who share the same ethics and vision you will do well and possibly win. But winning isn’t guaranteed by this alone.

    Comment by nickduddy -

  106. Wow, I just woke up and checked my mail, what we have here is a Mea culpa!

    “Moreover culpa is a Latin phrase that translates ireasonnglish as “my mistake”, “my fault”, or in a more modern slang-tilted tone, it can even mean “my bad”. 

    I also took the time to read all of the comments like Mark I’m sure has done or will do before commenting. And yes fans and foes alike, Mark needed to do this for so many reasons. Like most of you, I don’t know the man personally, but I have grown to respect his opinions on a myriad of issues including his beloved Mavs. For him not to speak on the Mavs current State of the Union would be disingenuous at best. Like great restaurants, I honestly believe that he values his customers opinions, which in practice makes the overall experience consistent and personable. I digress,
    I read a comment that also provided a teachable moment to yours truly, and I say also because I have no doubt that it will resonate with Mark. It pertained to Mark saying he would not do anything different or in Marks own words” In a Heartbeat” well that he or she was right when they said that we all could or should change something. Tyson Chandler is water under a bridge, but Steve Nash still sticks in a few crawls speaking in my native Texas drawl. I know Mark thought that the Championship was vindication, but “a mistake does not become an error until one refuses to correct it.” My point is, Mark you absolutely would make some changes if you could do it all over againand so would the bulk of us. Your experiences have made it so. I know that fan only represented $10k, but if no changes are made in your philosophy, well soon $10k could turn into more. Good stuff Mark, as always I’ll be looking forward to the next Blog Maverick.

    Comment by worldbfree4me -

  107. A few things i would’ve changed about the dwight vid:

    1) at 00:45 i would’ve replaced “commitment” with “hunger”
    reason: the lakers were probably telling dh to live up to his “commitment” to them. don’t want to conjure up laker thoughts for dh

    2) same for the lakers uni at 00:55 and at the end of the vid. don’t conjure laker thoughts for dh

    3) downplay dh’s desire for “fun”
    reason: he’s probably tired of the criticism he gets for that. show him as a warrior instead, he’d appreciate someone seeing that side of him

    4) at 1:46, have dh hold the trophy.
    reason: all athletes have egos. feed his ego

    I know it’s too late, but just some thoughts. MFFL!

    Comment by jasonjamaljimmy -

  108. Great insight about your strategy around culture and signing tradable players. Great anti-fragile strategy to sign fallen angels and wait for fallen superstars to become available via trade.

    Comment by Steven Moody -

  109. Mark,

    Thanks for the inside. I really that by adding solid starters and rotation players this year, the Mavs will be much more attractive to free agents next year because both deron and Dwight went to other teams because they had more pieces in place.

    Keep up the good work!

    Comment by Alex (@alexandros89) -

  110. Mark,

    I appreciate the insight. I do believe you have upgraded the team at point guard and shooting guard. I think that we may have lost a little offense and the post, but traded it for a more defense there. I am expecting a better team this year. I expect us to make the playoffs, but a championship is probably not likely this year. However, I thought the same thing in 2011 and what a great ride that was.

    I had a little personal adversity in the spring of 2011 as I was laid off at my job. Looking back, believe it or not, it was actually a bit of a blessing as I watched all 1013 minutes of the Mavericks’ playoff run and watched the championship parade. If I had continued at that job, I would have only been able to see about half of the games. The excitement of that playoff run is an experience that I will remember the rest of my life. I was so emotionally involved that I almost drove to the American Airlines Center to pummel Andrew Bynum after he clotheslined J.J. Barea in a otherwise awesome Game 4 of the Lakers series. Regardless of what happens this year, I will always be a Dallas Mavericks fan as I have been since 1980. Since my new job is in Farmington, New Mexico, I cannot go to as many games as I did, I will still make one or two a season, even if I have to go to Denver, Salt Lake City or Phoenix. Best wishes for a great season, I will be watching!

    Comment by Andy Tarkington -

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  112. What’s done is done its easy for everyone to say “we should have done this or this” but hindsight is 20/20 so it is what it is. I will say one thing I agree with that I’m going to take from this post, no team should ever tank a season thanks for not bagging it when I go to the Mavs game I go to see us win.

    Comment by Tony Garza (@9thface) -

  113. Mark,

    It’s weird that when asked if you wanted to tank a season early on in your ownership with a team that clearly lacked the talent to compete, you said “no, we need to build a winning culture.” Then fast forward to the lockout year and it’s a “throwaway year”. Seems to me like if you took the same approach you took as a new owner, you’d have resigned Tyson Chandler and tried to win every game on the schedule.

    I applaud you last year for at least signing the 1 year deals and trying to put something together, but, although you acknowledged it with regards to Dirk, you seem to be missing the very huge point that teams win championships. The 3 headed superstar model does not work. Look around the league and it’s been an utter failure. Even in Miami, they got 3 of the very best and couldn’t beat our TEAM. They aren’t nearly as good as their talent would suggest and they’ve squeaked through a very weak eastern conference with favorable matchups. It’s not a viable team building method.

    Comment by Fred McTweeter (@tweetinomglol) -

  114. As a 20 + year season ticket holder, I am 1st and foremost thankful for the championship and hoping for another one. As talented as Dwight and Deron are, I’ve never been sure about their attitudes. I’m not that sure about Ellis either, but now that he’s here, we will see. Personally. I am impressed with the talents you acquired this off season, and I’m always hopeful. If I didn’t lose it with Lafrenz and Bradley, Damp and the Antoiwnes, the 3 J’s, Nash, and the Finley amnesty, I’m not going to give up now.

    If the championship is the goal, ultimately, the vast majority of teams, trades and deals are not successful, because they don’t lead to one. So keep rolling the dice. At least since I moved out of Texas, it only cost me $169 on NBA TV instead of $3000 like the AAC. Good luck-Go Mavs

    Comment by Johnnie Goode -

  115. I like others take pride in being a Mavs fan. My only concern is it seems Dallas is a can’t do city. No one wants to come here. I cannot understand that. Biggest concern is Dirk, he deserves to compete on a winning team. I hate and I’m afraid his loyalty to the Mavs organization will cost him a chance to win another one.

    Comment by LeRoy McConnell III -

  116. Mark,
    Nice long explanation, but I wish you would just come clean and admit you screwed it up. We will always cherish the championship and we know how special and awesome that team was, but you, Donnie, and the rest of your brain trust dropped the ball. You need to admit to us that you have essentially wasted the tail end of dirks prime chasing a free agent dream that never was better than a slim chance.

    I for one was pumped at the beginning of the ’10-’11 season, Tyson had taken our team to school every time we saw him. You can’t honestly have us believe that after the championship run, we wouldn’t have been better off trying to repeat with a similar squad. You didn’t make a concerted effort to resign our core. You just let everyone leave and thought a bunch of mercenaries would buy you time. Fail. Everyone involved would’ve preferred to try to make another run.

    I hope you enjoyed all your “dry powder”, but this game is about acquiring assets, not only cap space. And all this talk about the importance of the draft? Please, this team has never treated the draft as anything other than something to trade.

    I think you got fat and happy after the title and deided to play for the future rather than taking another real shot.

    Thanks again f

    Comment by millerbug -

  117. As a Rockets fan, I can say that you’re a liar. I can also say that you’re dishonest in that you said you replied to every email you ever received. Well, I sent you one in 2005 with nary a response. You aren’t a man of honor.

    Comment by Jim Rassinier -

  118. Mark,I am very proud to be a Mavericks fan. Since 2000, the culture changed. The decision you speak of when you first bought the team to try to win instead of going for a high draft pick was a major, epic turning point in the Mavericks history. Thank you. In business, and when I was playing 20 years of soccer, I tried to instill a belief that succeeding was possible in every circumstance. When you are not striving to be your best with the hand that was dealt to you, THEN…you are spinning your wheels. I have never felt that the Mavs are spinning their wheels. Keep doing what you are doing… -Dave ‘DCON’ (Austin, TX).

    Comment by Dave Conrad (@dcDheavy) -

  119. Thanks Mark for everything you do for the MFFL and the city of Dallas, Tx. Your always active in the trade market and free agents, trying to bring the best talent to the organization and we appreciate your efforts. I’m looking forward to seeing Ellis, Harris, Calderon, Blair and the rest of the new additions blend in with Dirk, Shawn, Vince and company. Thanks a true fan!

    Comment by djcurious35 -

  120. As a SFFL (Spurs Fan For Life) I’ve always had the utmost respect for you as an owner. There is no question that you work as hard as any owner out there, look at every angle possible to build a championship team, and will stop at nothing- spending or otherwise- to build the best team you and your staff thinks it takes to win. I imagine there couldn’t be a better owner to play for. That said, Go Spurs Go.

    Comment by rcammon85 -

  121. Pingback: Watch the Dallas Mavericks’ epic video pitch to Dwight Howard | time2sports.com

  122. Thanks Mark. As a MFFL, I appreciate you taking the time to address the fans and give us some insight as to what happens in the front office and an idea of what your thought processes are. I love what you guys put together this offseason, one of the biggest problems I had after 2011 was the lack of a core/real team to root for and that problem is gone. It’s tough to root for a team of one year deals. The Mavs have a great record with creativity with trades and things so add in ’14 FA, we should be back at the top in no time.

    One of the many reason the Mavs have the best owner in basketball!

    Comment by Steven (@snrussell09) -

  123. Mark,
    I have been a fan ever since the Mavericks were the laughing stock of the NBA. You gave us two Finals and a Championship. We all thank you. However, two words… free agents. While your execs were meeting with free agent players, you were out filming TV shows. You told us… “we are better off we without (insert player here).” Now you are say, “That shouldn’t be the case next year.” I look at this team and wonder… really?!? Sure there might be a big “king” fish out there next year but there is very little working in our favor. We haven’t been able to snag the big FA at all recently and you can make the argument that we never have. I see a trend of good players leaving our team, restricted FAs get our offers matched and unrestricted FAs signing elsewhere. Forget about LA and New York… we couldn’t sell Dallas over Houston. Maybe things work out… I hope they do. Recently, its getting hard to buy into what your selling even though we just won a title not so long ago. I will always be MFFL. I don’t want to see that championship banner hang by itself forever. We don’t want to ever see you to rest on the fact that you won a title like so many other owners and teams. We bought into that crap with the Cowboys and look where that got us now… no playoffs and hopes of a “process” that brings winning. We don’t want to be sold on a good team that is championship material.. we want to see it. We trust you Mark… we trust you know what your doing. I just hope this isn’t a case of the business side of things taking over the winning side of things.

    Comment by Shaun Merritt -

  124. Pingback: Dallas Mavericks made superhero-themed video pitch to Dwight Howard | Larry Brown Sports

  125. Great post. You certainly didn’t owe us this, but as a fan, I really do appreciate it. I see a genuine system of values at work. Good stuff. I appreciate your confidence in the players we have (they need to hear that) without making wild claims about another imediate championship. As the proverb says (and we in the hot TX summer understand so well) “Like clouds and win without rain are a man who boasts of gifts he can not give”. We’ll see how the season goes, maybe we won’t make the playoffs, or maybe we’ll catch fire and make a run. Either way, I’m a MFFL.

    Comment by Roy Layman (@RoyLayman) -

  126. I appreciate the explanation except that it omits the fact that Tyson was only 28 at the time he wasn’t re-signed. He and Dirk would have been the perfect combination to build around. Why let the best defensive center in the league go on a pipe dream to get someone such as Dwight or Deron? Both of them had never won a ring anyhow. Deron has never come close.

    Comment by Lance Price -

  127. Not a Mavs fan but love your approach of taking the road less traveled. Great insight!

    Comment by Carl Rannaberg (@carlrannaberg) -

  128. Its what I say in Business and as an Entrepreneur if you don’t take risks you never get the opportunity to know if you could have. Great way to always take risks. Its the sole reason why you are a great Entrepreneur.

    Comment by lincolnparks (@lincolnparks) -

  129. clippers fan since ’03, but always respected the mavs. they are one of the few examples where the owner is really into it. don’t take that for granted. while sterling has arguably gotten a little better, i’d take mark cuban anyday. hoping calderon can bring a little life into the offense. i’m most worried about your d, but you can definitely surprise some people this year…

    Comment by ed walmsley (@powerinquestion) -

  130. Greatest owner in the history of NBA. A lot of people are not grateful to the number of good years the franchise have had.

    Comment by Anas Siraj (@imbondbaby) -

  131. Love the Mavs…but I think chasing the big free agents is a waste of time. IMO- they don’t want to be on a team where Dirk is on his way down…. 3 to 5 years ago was a different deal. I think young signings and building thru the the draft and building a young core is the only way to build. I respect Dirk, and he can help the young players grow. But – 2 or 3 more years is it.

    Comment by Paul Graham -

  132. Hi MC.

    I am much appreciative of this insight from your point of view as Owner of the Dallas Mavericks. The last two seasons were indeed a big disappointment. In fact, I had great season tickets, but did not renew for upcoming season. Maybe I will return as a season ticket holder in the future. However, for now, I just don’t think the Mavs are a quality product. I met you once (about ten years ago) and told you that the Mavs were THE BEST product in the DFW area. Not the case for me anymore. I have my theories, but will buy into yours – except for one. I have heard you say it before and read it again here, that you would do it all the same way again – “in a heartbeat”. This scares AND disappoints me. IMHO: No person is so perfect or enlightened that with the benefit of hindsight can’t find something critical that they would do differently under same/similar circumstance – as this is called LEARNING born of on the job experience!!! This insistence on your part, that you would do it all again the same way, is what makes me have little confidence in the Mavs for the immediate future and was the propellant for me to save myself $10,000 a season.

    I respectfully chalk it up to your youth and envision that you will indeed learn and apply a lot in future seasons that you learned post our glorious championship season but do not currently realize or do not want to confess. And, I and believe YOU WILL do things differently in the future because you are very smart.

    I wish it all could have been different. I will always root for the Mavs and love the culture you have built. I feel like I could right a best selling book on it as a model team system.

    I write this with the greatest respect and wish you and the team all the best.

    Leah.

    Comment by leahdbox -

  133. 2013-14 is going to be a great year for the fans and our Mavericks. An eloquent and intellectual explanation that you certainly didn’t owe any of us, but that some probably needed to hear. Never give up, never surrender. MFFL.

    Comment by Collin Cable (@CollinCable) -

  134. So you let go of the best center in Mavs history because you wanted someone to come in and be a cornerstone of the future? He was 28 years old at the time. His contract would be expiring when he turned 32. Meanwhile, you just gave Jose Calderon, 31, a FOUR YEAR DEAL, and tried to sign Devin to a 3 year deal.

    How are those two going to be more of a cornerstone than Tyson Chandler whose worth became abundantly clear after the Spurs PnR’d us to death in the 2010 playoffs? You talk about Haywood being the starting center, but we all watched how slow-footed he was when the Spurs went after him and we all saw how Tyson’s ability to defend the PnR and rebound elitely was something we hadn’t had in quite some time.

    In your decade+ of owning the team, how many players have you drafted that were voted all-stars as Mavs? By my count, 0. Get it together.

    Comment by Jonathan (@TrowbridgePl) -

  135. Awesome post to read, from a business perspective too, Mark.

    Comment by Marshall Kirkpatrick (@marshallk) -

  136. Thanks for sharing your thought process Mark, I appreciated reading this. You make a great point in that when many teams are trying to become successful using the same method, it makes it more difficult to succeed using that method.

    Can you give more insights into how the Mavs have been able to help players like Jason Terry, Jerry Stackhouse, Brandon Wright, and Tyson Chandler contribute in new ways that were greater than expectations?

    Comment by Tim Chan -

  137. I’m glad you posted the video, but the space it took in this post makes it seem awkwardly disproportionate to what I hope was an excellent legitimate proposal and conversation. I guess it was the equivalent of the Rangers walking Yu Darvish out onto the ballpark field with his name in lights so it’s the little fun thing that doesn’t really change anything, but you have to do. I’m hopeful, but concerned. Mark, I think you’ve done all you can to turn this franchise around. Still, it seems, and I’m only a fan, but it seems at least some players don’t want to come here as their top choice. Maybe its that one championship and smaller media or not being on a coast is the reason, but what can you do to alter this reality? I certainly believe in Coach Carlisle and in Dirk, but what makes the Mavs a less sexy destination? We can work hard, but at some point we’ll have to attract one big free agent and I don’t understand how that will happen and the more often it doesn’t, the more likely the perception becomes pervasive. Thanks for your candor. I wish you’d given more detail about the actual presentation vs. just posting the cartoon video, but I know that was your choice to leave that part out, or it would be there. Here’s to hoping for the best.

    Comment by Tom (@infogovernor) -

  138. Great summarization of how it’s been conspired for the organization. I have this gut feeling the squad coming into next season will be a true DARK HORSE. No pun intended. The adjustments made in certain areas have been good as far as the long run. Sometimes you really don’t need the big name free agents. It merely emphasizes on teamwork and dedication. I’m pumped to see Dirk finally be alongside an fearless scorer like Monta Ellis. Also, the contributors like Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Vince Carter, Wayne Ellington, DeJuan Blair, Brandan Wright, Devin Harris, and the team will be quite the experiment to watch. I’m happy to have a coach like Rick Carlisle represent this squad. He’s got a better project to work with than last year in my opinion.

    Never give up. Never surrender, Dallas!

    Comment by ji8888 -

  139. I always believe in every decisions you make in the Mavs even if the media thinks it is awful. I think they will be stronger this coming season and very hopeful that the team will have a very good chemistry and back to the playoffs. I’m a Mavs fan from the Philippines and I always make sure to watch every game of the Mavs. I may not able to support them live but I will always support them no matter what. Win or lose. Mavs fan for life!

    Comment by thedoublejay -

  140. Pingback: Mark Cuban discusses his philosophy and approach for re-building the Mavs | Basketball Intelligence

  141. Mr Cuban, I’m a fan of the Mavs since 2003 When I was still in my elementary days. I saw the ups and downs of the team. The Mavs fans really saw your effort in finding ways to get the team back on track. I hope this year we could go back in the playoffs and go as deep as it can. If we can’t reach the finals this season, hopefully the team could sign a big name next year for improvements. Go Mavs!! MFFL

    Comment by Josh 梁知世 (@notjoshlazaro) -

  142. Gotta admit, Mark, reading this made me even prouder to be a MFFL. There aren’t many owners who are that honest and open to the fans. Thanks for the insights and LET’S GO MAVS!!

    Comment by Fábio Torres (@fabio_torres) -

  143. Just so you know, I tried posting under my wordpress account but the post would not go through.

    Comment by Alessandro Machi -

  144. Isn’t it ironic that in a strike shortened basketball season it actually made sense to not keep together older players because there was actually less time in between games.

    Comment by Alessandro Machi -

  145. I like the way you think. I look forward to pitching one of my many tech startups to you on shark tank. The show might want to consider amnestying Daymond John for the ridiculous suits he sports.

    Comment by Joe Paul Gerardi -

  146. I appreciate your sharing the insight! Keep up the hard work. Go Mavs!

    Comment by Cody Miller (@the_slolife) -

  147. Love what the Mavs have done over the last few years. We’re moving from Abilene to the Dallas area in the next few weeks…one of the huge benefits will be being able to switch from my weekend season tickets to full season tickets in the future!

    I will teach my 4 yr old and 2 yr old sons about how to always do your best not matter what circumstances have been put around you. The “culture” of the Mavs is something I will use to teach my boys now and hope to be able to for years to come!

    Comment by jrsmith120880 -

  148. Thanks for taking the time to walk us through the process. I am so looking forward to a great year. Proud to be a Mavs fan!

    Comment by Kelly Davis (@MavsFanKelly) -

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